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tv   [untitled]    May 5, 2012 12:30am-1:00am PDT

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also a certain amount of attention. i would like to see the party is directed to have some mediation. i think there might be ways to solve the problem. up to now, there has been no attempt to solve it with design considerations. thank you. president fong: second d.r. requestor. >> good evening. my name is scott seligman. i am part owner of the home. i apologize for being here. with your enormous responsibilities that you have to mediate between two one percenters arguing over expanding a huge home to a
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larger home. i tried to compromise and failed. i am sorry. peter fenton is a brilliant venture capitalist. not yet 40, a general partner at benchmark capital. that is a leading venture capital firm in silicon valley. he is self effacing and a practicing catholic -- triathlete. his wife is a graduate of harvard and yale law school. the architect is one of the leading builders of a great city. these are the best and the brightest, a credit to our society. i am at a loss by their attitude in this project. this is no david and goliath struggle. it is goliath versus goliath. i own commercial property in the
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city and have developed property in the city. i own sterling break -- sterling bank and trust. we have 14 branches in our community. we frequently have to deal with securing permits and working with community groups. our commercial and residential loan portfolio in san francisco is $500 million. we consider ourselves the largest community bank in the city. as a matter of principle, i favor growth and development. within the last five years, both houses on either side of us, including the fenton house, were substantially expanded. we gave them a housewarming gift when they moved in. i will not stoop to direct
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criticism. there inappropriateness speaks for themselves. their admission of needing an easement even renders these proceedings moot. however, the true lesson is that they have failed to recognize that even with unlimited money and power, the victory should never be at any and all cost. these are people who never lose and never give up. i admire them for it. the have lost their sense of proportion and judgment as it pertains to this project. i pray that this commission helps them by rebuking them in such a way as they will cast aside their arrogance and work with their neighbor so that all sides are content. thank you very much.
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third and -- president fong: third rh d.r. requestor. >> my name is jim stafford. my wife and i own 27 online larkin, to homes down. -- own at 2709 larkin, two holmes down. they have all survived over 100 years in essentially the same format, although they have been renovated. they are designed to line up in the back in order to preserve each other's views. they have stayed that way for over 100 years. that are each large single- family homes. in fact, they are all over 4500 square feet. one would imagine it -- we are a
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family of four. we seem to survive just fine. our hope is that we could have had much more time. our experience is there is no interest whatever in listening to the concerns. it is their way or the highway as they move forward as fast as they can muster. what they are asking for is a huge wall of glass that juts into our back yards. they want changes that completely changed the privacy and character of our three continuous homes.
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it is too much, i think. i am a fan of development. my company, restoration timber, sells reclaimed would to new homes -- wood to new homes. what i am not a fan of the is a wish to impact a historic neighborhood in a significant neighborhood way. this is out of context. it will have used into two residences. the light in the backyard will be compromised. they need to live next to each
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other as neighbors. we would like to enjoy our privacy and views, and would like to create something that is more of a compromise. i hope that this commission recognizes there are three historic homes that have remained in their same relationship for over 100 years. that is worth preserving. i think that mediating a compromise that gives the sentence -- the fentons extra room and protect the neighborhood could be struck. our house, when renovated recently, worked in conjunction with the needs of the neighbors. what we are asking is that they do the same. thank you. president fong: third d.r. requestor. was that third? fourth d.r. requestor.
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>> my name is steve gunders. i represent several signatories. i have also been asked by a fifth to read her statement. as a granma, she had to pick up her granddaughter and could not be here today. i would like to begin by reading her statement. just to clarify, her condominium is owned by herself on the top floor and another gentleman on the bottom floor, who is in concert and agreement with her. it is effectively their backyard that focuses on the fenton property, just so we understand. i am reading her statement.
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commissioners, my apartment? into an expansion. the architect who designed these properties -- the concept of space is essential. this expanse is closed with the new expansion. there is so much beauty in the city, and that would impact that as well. her request is that the d.r. go forward and there be a negotiation. for commentary is at the moment the space recording additional requirements for a family of four is a serb. how many of you consider 6000 square feet enough for each of your children? however, we have other considerations around like, space, and encroachment on --
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light, space, and encroachment. we basically have three reasons why we believe discretionary review should go forward. one has already been commented on by others. we have had an encroachment approach in the whole area. if you look at the water, i live on the other side of the road. while we are not directly impacted by this because we do not look at it, although we might be able to see bits and pieces, we are in a condition where we feel we have other properties that have been built up to a point where we are going to lose green space, air, and so on. in a broader context, this is more than building codes.
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this product is going to be the biggest square footage of any single family home on the block, and will impact the other homes. it will have a serious impact on the character of the neighborhood. each individual is entitled to build up their home. i believe you need to look at it from the standpoint of character. the open yard space will be impacted. i think the scale is out of proportion. we are up against the apartment building next door, rather than the homes in the surrounding area. for those reasons, i would request that perhaps mediation or discretionary review go forward, and that the parties meet and try to come to some compromise where we are not changing the character of the
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neighborhood. president fong: the fifth d.r. requestor? okay. speakers in favor of the d.r. i have three cards. scott selman already spoke. are there any other speakers in favor of the d.r.? seeing none, project sponsor, you have five minutes. >> good afternoon, commissioners. this design is a 1250 square foot addition to a house in need of architectural assistance. the existing residence was remodeled by a developer in
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2005, with features that included a rear facade treatment and an exterior staircase that dominates the entire rear yard. our design calls for the removal of the staircase, which projects beyond the rear facade. no existing to the top floor. there is a 20 foot 2 inch bubble height play room addition at the basement level, which exits' out on grade in the rear yard. all of these extensions have been held back 5 feet from the home to the north, except for a small portion below the neighboring fence. there is a fully subterranean subbasement which is to be used solely for mechanical equipment. an elevator extends to all levels except the top level, which we chose to exclude because we could not get it to look good. on the issue of light, this
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addition has minimal impact on any shadows cast to the north and west. the d.r. requestor have included a roof edge that has never been part of our design. we have corrected their illustrations to illustrate the minor impact even in the dead of winter. to the east, we have 1090 chesnutt, which is a very tall building. the shadows both of these buildings cast, for the most part, block out any shadow. on the issue of privacy, i believe we are approving the privacy situation. all of these houses have their privacy somewhat compromised by their existence of the larkin condos. that has windows with great views of the bay and their neighbors. that condition existed long
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before any of the current owners bought their properties. we are proposing to remove an existing exterior staircase that extends 18 feet 5 inches beyond the facade, double the amount we are proposing to extend our additions. each landing of the staircase provide a perfect place to look back. a staircase has people going up and down all the time. it is arranged so people can see the bay. while it is possible to stand with the nose pressed to the glass, it is unlikely this would be a common occurrence. the condos would still have their perspective. the staircase will be gone. we will also remove existing? which are 8 feet deep. no existing -- existing decks which are 8 feet deep.
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our playroom addition is a permissible construction under section 136 of the planning code. there is a planted terrace, but be on it we have 35 feet 10 inches of rear yard, which is over 1000 square feet of size. there are many different sizes of rear yards in the neighborhood. this is pretty close to the average size. as far as immediate neighbors go, at 2701, there is no yard. the seligmans, with their non- conforming pavillion, is notably less than a thousand square feet. the assertion there will not be a co-compliance set back is false. as clearly shown on the first page of our submission, which confirms our interpretation of the building code, which is not
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appropriate for you to be reviewing any way. as far as an easement, we are not asking for an easement on this project. thank you. president fong: speakers in favor of the project sponsor? >> good afternoon. commissioners, peter fenton, the owner of the project, along with our daughter. our son could not make it. he is taking an afternoon nap -. i want to share our motivation. it is important we talk about that, and the guidelines we feel would be a corporate. finally, our request is to the commission. laura and i fell in love in brazil in 1989. we got married about 16 years later, in 2008. the year of our marriage, we
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bought this house. it was a developer house. it had the romanticism of russian hill, but was not functional for a family. we thought we would move if we had a family. what we did not anticipate is how much we would love the neighborhood. i served on a number of boards of startup companies in san francisco. i have no desire to move out. we had a second problem when our son william got a little older. he discovered he enjoyed the back steps. hold on. these back steps create a fear in our house that is hard to describe. when we are not watching him, we worry he is going to open the door. there is a 15 foot fall on the side, and he is getting to a height where he can crawl over. he loves to run up and down the steps. it is frankly dangerous. here is a picture of the master
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bedroom, where he can have a diving platform. as a parent, you do everything you can. you do not expect that is going to happen, but there is fear. that motivated us to construct a would be suitable for children, one that can allow freedom of movement without fear, one that can allow open space to play as opposed to drinking in views. the guidance looking into the project with is this architect had a history of building beautiful and appropriate structures. we asked him to address freedom of movement for children without fear and open space as a pooch -- as opposed to drinking in the view. that is the logic. there is a second thing the asked, which is critical -- that we bounced neighbor concerns and interests. nobody is going to be happy about a project like this. our biggest concern is for the
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large apartment building next to us. they had many concerns. importantly, none of them are here today. we addressed their concerns. it is a little embarrassing that the people who are most concerned do not have any views affected. the fear we are left with, if we cannot accomplish this project, is we will not be able to raise a family here. our request to you hundley is that you not take -- humbly is that you not take d.r. president fong: thank you. next speaker in favor of the project sponsor. >> mary murphy, counsel to peter fenton and his family. i have additional letters of support. there were sent electronically to the commission. i am not sure if you got them. i would like to be very brief and return your attention to the legal standards this commission
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has adopted in considering discretionary review requests. we request the commission adopt the recommendation that has been in the staff report by the planning department. we completely concur and agree with the reasoning that was set forth by the residential design team in that report. i will not reiterate it tonight. but i do want to remind the commission that you have gone to a lengthy process trying to look at what is an appropriate standard for taking discretionary review. you adopted a policy and a definition of situations of the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances. respectfully to the others here tonight, we believe the staff is correct that this is a situation that does not present exceptional or extraordinary circumstances. i apologize for seeming arrogant in our papers. we were simply pointing out the fact that this is a lot configuration which is the same
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as most of the lots throughout the city, all over the city. as you look at your own materials about what constitutes exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, you cite specifically regular configurations and unusual context. this is the same as every block in a residential district of the city. we believe this project improves the existing conditions, especially on the point of privacy, to those that exist currently. as he stated, right now you can see into these homes from all of the units and the? -- the decks. with respect to the current configuration, you could see into these homes coming up and down the stairs. this change is one that people will not be standing with their nose pressed against the glass. most people in all of these
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homes will be looking north to the beautiful views of the bay, which are in no way obstructed. this is thoughtfully designed. the intent is to make the home child-friendly. we urge the commission to deny these requests. it does not rise to the level of exceptional circumstances. we respectfully it would request that you deny these requests. thank you. we are here to answer any questions. president fong: additional speakers in favor of the project sponsor? >> my name is paul keenan. i have been a project manager many years. among two states it is inaccurate that we have not reached out -- i wanrt tt to ste it is inaccurate that we have not reached out. all of our neighbors have been
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contacted for over two years. we have not been successful at finding common ground, i agree. in some cases, our immediate neighbors have made suggestions to revise the plan is completely to a plan that was not compliant with code, required variances, and was not acceptable. that is the suggestion they had. when we moved back, that is the product we have before you. that is a true statement. thank you. president fong: any other speakers in favor of the project sponsor? rh- -- d.r. requestor, you have a rebuttal of two minutes. >> someone said they do not need
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an easement. if you look at paragraph seven in the first page, "new basement exiting by the backyard if an easement can be obtained to the street and to an opening provided at the rear wall fence of the property. this would obviate the need for egress stairs." its seems to me that is saying, if you want to obviate the need for egress stairs, something that would be expensive, we need to have an easement. on the business of the fact that the big building has access to privacy, this is what the building will look like after the improvements are made. imagine for yourselves that the people who are standing there
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have a direct sightline into your bedroom. the fact that there might be some people who have a window that is 100 feet away cannot possibly be compared with the invasion of privacy that is inherent in that situation. the condo is there. it has been there. it has not been a problem. this will be a problem. one thing that i am asking you to do today -- if we have a direction from this commission to have mediation, i suspect there is an architectural solution to these problems, or something that could ameliorate them. but the business of our making proposals and then saying "no way, because we are going to do what is legal" -- the point of
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discretionary review is to refer to the discretion of this body. president fong: thank you. second d.r. requestor rubato -- rebuttal, if there is any. >> the homes are called the three sisters. it is one of the very last streets in the city where a brick street that predated the earth and fire it is still standing. the blocks that are in the back of the home are those that were used as ballast for ships when they came into san francisco bay. these are survivors of the 1906 earthquake and fire. they are to be treated with perhaps a special respect that may go beyond what is in the
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code. this plan simply does not do that. i would only say to the commission that carol and i have had a policy of welcoming people on either side of us who have done renovations and reviews in the past, and have been supportive of their efforts, and have attempted to be good neighbors. i had a meeting with the architect, with carroll. without getting into a he-said, she-said, i said to him, "why don't you design both houses an extension of the back in conjunction, and we can go through a review process together? because when they are through extending their house and blocking our view, we will want to extend hours out, so we will not have been scared into our
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house." of course, the neighbor who spoke will now be in the same situation, because we will be staring into his home. i do not understand the need for it. we want to be helpful. we want to support this young couple. but it is not possible with the attitude that has been displayed so far. thank you. president fong: thank you. next d.r. requestor rebuttal. they technically get five, right? technically. any other rebuttals? ok. project sponsor rebuttal. >> i believe you. ok. again, regarding the easement,